I was downhearted today to learn that a good friend at work is planning to vote Conservative.
Why? Because Gordon Brown “looks like such a loser”, for one. “He needs a serious makeover.”
As for Nick Clegg, “he just seems like a liar”. That only leaves Cameron, and “we need a change – we need something new,” she concluded.
Observations like these cannot, and should not, be dismissed. I have decided to set out my response to them here…
You know I’m a Labour supporter and obviously we disagree on this. But allow me to give, briefly (if I can), a few good reasons not to vote Tory.
I’m doing this because there are many lovely, decent, kind, smart people like you who are being hoodwinked by the Conservatives’ airbrushed campaign.
The Tories pretend they’ve changed, but they haven’t; and in government they would wreak at least as much carnage as they did in the 1980s.
1) It’s not how you look, it’s what you do. It would be a shame to judge Gordon Brown harshly on the basis of his greater age (or girth!) compared with the other party leaders. Brown showed excellent judgement and leadership during the economic crisis. The Tories got every call wrong. Brown is highly respected and liked by world leaders including Barack Obama, Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merckel. They have no respect for Cameron. And Clegg is an unknown.
2 The Tories will close Sure Start, depriving millions of parents and young children of services and guidance they need to get a decent start in life. That just isn’t fair.
3 The Tories will cut regional development agencies, turning northern and rural regions into an economic disaster area.
4 Despite feeble claims to the contrary, the Tories will decimate the NHS. They are ideologically utterly opposed to it and were linked with various hard right anti-healthcare-reform groups in the US.
5 The Tories will smash up the BBC, slashing state funding, interfering in programming and throwing the service on the mercy of market forces. That will mean no innovation, no creativity and no risk taking. Everything we hold dear about the Beeb will be destroyed.
6 The Tories will cut funding to state education, which is in a dire enough state already. Even Tory headteachers have warned that this will happen.
7 The Tories are implacably opposed to proportional representation. Please don’t be taken in by Cameron’s pretence at moving towards electoral reform. His party won’t let him. That means that under the Tories, we will continue to have a voting system in which most people’s votes are irrelevant and parties govern on a minority vote. It’s not right. Labour and the Lib Dems want to change it; the Tories don’t.
8 The Tories will bring back fox hunting – a barbaric, cruel and sickening way for sadists to have fun. British people pride themselves on being a nation of animal lovers. There’s no place for fox hunting in a civilised, modern society.
How you vote is your choice, as it should be, but please bear these things in mind. Cameron may have a better make-up artist, a better airbrusher, a better tailor and all the easy charm his background confers, but that doesn’t make him a safe person to lead our country.
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